When the Dutch planned to relocate the capital from Batavia to Bandung, it underwent a sudden boom and the population increased. Considering themselves as an upper class society, the Dutch community insisted on keeping themselves up-to date with European lifestyles. To support this high fashion standart it was necessary to have some kind of “Champs de Ellyses”, and Jl. Braga was the result. A shopping lane complete with theatre with the latest movies. Bandung then, became famous as “Paris van Java”. The city parks and gardens with blooming flowers made Bandung also famous as the “Flower City”. Bandung also became the center of education, with best “ITB” (Institute Teknologi Bandung) located right in the center of the elite area of Bandung. Today ITB produces qualified engineers and several graduates of the arts faculty are knowledged as famous commercial artists. The aircraft factory of IPTN has sold a number of aircraft overseas. Bosscha Astronomical Observatory in Lembang installed in 1923 and still functions as Astronomy Research Center. Technology is not the only science that Bandung can boast, Lembaga Pasteur, or Pasteur’s Institute, where the rabies serum and smallpox vaccine were researched and developed, is also located in Bandung.
Where to stay
Bandung has quite number of modern places of accommodation. Most star hotels are located in the center of the city or on the famous Jl. Dago (renamed Jl. Juanda). For budget hotela try the streets around the train station, and Melati hotels on Jl. Pasteur or Jl. Cipaganti.
Some of the star hotels are Grand Preanger and Savoy Homann on Jl. Asia Africa, right in the center of the city. Papandayan on Jl. Gatot Subroto, Sheraton Inn and Jayakarta Suite on Jl. Juanda and Panghegar on Jl. Merdeka.
Where to eat
It seems the foreign cuisines have also invaded Bandung. Western, Japanese and fast food restaurants on Jl. Setiabudi, or on Jl. Sukajadi (which also has Korean restaurant), is proof. You can find a Thai restaurant on Jl. Braga, while the favourite place for Chinese is on Jl. Gardu Jati. At night, numerous stall inhabit the street sides. The Sundanese dishes are considered as mild. For those who enjoy the spicy stuff there is always sambal as a side dish to go with whatever you order. Most Sundanese restaurants have gold fish in their menus, with different way of cooking it, fried, roasted or pepes (wrapped in spices and banana leaves, then steamed).
Jl. Braga still serve as a shopping lane, here you can find a couple of antique shops, some shops from the colonial days are still there. Another shopping street is along Jl. A. Yani. A modern shopping center, Bandung Indah Plaza is located on Jl. Merdeka. If you care for browsing, the area of Alun-Alun will give you some idea on how the local people shop and bargain. If you are a T-shirt & jeans person, go to Jl. Cihampelas. Row of shops wit hilarious exterior design, each with real loud, loud speaker blasting different pop music, are quite exhilarating. Cibaduyut is famous for its shoes, but you may have to look hard for the desired quality. For batik, souvenirs and handicraft there is Sarinah Department Store on Jl. Braga.
Geological Museum- Jl. Diponegoro
It is one the largest geological museums in Southeast Asia. It was built in 1926 and houses numerous fossil, including skull replica of Java Man (the original of which was escavated from East Java), models of volcanoes and others pertinent to geology. The museum is closed in the afternoon and on Sundays or public holidays.
Gedung Sate- Jl. Diponegoro
This building is synonymous with Bandung and was used as the seat of the Dutch government during its occupation. It now serves as the office of the Governor of Java. The pointed structure at the top resembles sate or satay, the Indonesian shish kebab.
Gedung Merdeka- Jl. Asia Africa
Formerly known as the Concordia Club, the building is where the Dutch high society and the members of the aristocracy spent their evenings for entertainment. Renamed Gedung Merdeka or Liberty Building after Independence, the building witnessed the Asia Africa Conference initiated by Indonesia’s first President, Soekarno.
Other colonial buildings.
Hotel Savoy Homann on Jl. Asia Africa, was the first hotel in Bandung and was built by German immigrant. The building underwent reconstruction following the Art Deco style of that period and was completed in 1939. During the Asia Africa Conference the place served as accommodation for the heads of states who attended the conference.
Hotel Grand Preanger was constructed in 1889 and also underwent redesigning. It is located across the street from the Hotel Savoy Homann. As time went by, the building was enlarged and now is much bigger than it originally was.
Villa Isola or Bumi Siliwangi on Jl. Setiabudi. Wolf Schoemaker who was responsible for designing Gedung Merdeka and Grand Preanger created this unique architecture at the request of an Italian millionaire. Since it was built in much later in 1932, it combines the modern style.